Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Wang is back; how’d he look?


Wang got hit in his first game back. Cause for concern? Photo: The Washington Nationals

Chien-Ming Wang made his triumphant return to the Majors on July 29th, and promptly gave up 4 runs in the first inning back.   He was clearly nervous against the leadoff hitter Reyes, then gave up four consecutive singles (mostly hit well) en route to an ugly first inning.  A couple of loose plays behind him didn’t help (hence why 2 of the four first inning runs were unearned), but for a bit of time I was worried he would be relieved without getting an out.

Through the 2nd and 3rd innings he settled down, getting his sinker to move back across the plate instead of off of it, and looked pretty good.  Manager Davey Johnson more or less agreed, saying he was encouraged by the outing despite the results.

Wang’s fastball was a bit off of his 2007 peak, touching 93.3 and sitting mostly in the 91-92 range.  His breaking balls were mostly atrocious, floating over the plate and contributing to his woes.  He also attempted several split-fingered changeups with very limited success (only 2 of 7 for strikes).  However, his sink and movement seemed fantastic, and with more mound work I feel he can go back to being an effective starter.  If i’m Steve McCatty, I know exactly what i’m working on for his next start.

All told, the game was an 8-5 loss and you never want to give up 6 runs in 4 innings, but this team needs to stick with Wang for the rest of the season to see what they have.  Yes he is likely to get beat up, but if they have a reliable veteran starter who has a history of success in this league on the cheap, they need to find out.  I look forward to his next outing.

Written by Todd Boss

July 30th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

5 Responses to 'Wang is back; how’d he look?'

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  1. I’m totally with you on Wang. I was interested to see what his fastball was at and I was quite suprised. Fans should remember that he is still in spring training mode and building his arm. I think he’ll do fine and the nats patience will pay off. He’ll be a great #4 for us. The nats need starters to go deep in order to win ball games especially in this division. Look at the phillies…3 starting pitchers over 140 innings.


    31 Jul 11 at 12:50 am

  2. My favorite part of the game was the postgame press conference when there 10 Tv cameras……… 1 from Washington and 9 from Taiwan.

    Mark L

    1 Aug 11 at 10:51 pm

  3. The nats rookies just don’t know how good they have it, only having to deal with a few beat guys. I wonder how many beat reporters there are for the NY teams.

    Todd Boss

    2 Aug 11 at 4:40 pm

  4. Just thought I would post here after Wang’s second start. It sounded (could’nt watch, was at work) as if he pitched marginally better. Hopefully, he keeps the runs down his next start.

    Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

    4 Aug 11 at 12:04 pm

  5. He was marginally better, but still leaked runs in the first. Lots of ground-outs. Bad bad mistake to Uggla, who blasted a 3-run homer. Baby steps; I mentioned to someone else It looks like spring training outings for him. But, for $3M you have to see what you have.

    Todd Boss

    4 Aug 11 at 3:35 pm

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